tv Meet the Press NBC November 5, 2012 3:00am-4:00am PST
edition of "meet the press." with david gregory. and good sunday morning. this is it from our nbc news election headquarters at new york's recfeller plaza, now transformed into democracy plaza. we are just 48 hours away from election day, and these two candidates are in their final sprint. last night after a packed day, romney in colorado and obama in virginia trying to turn out their supporters and close the sale. back here in new york, meantime, areas near here in staten island, queens, long island, and new jersey still dealing with the devastating effects of hurricane sandy. nearly a week later, long gas lines, electricity still out for two million, and of course falling temperatures now. we've got it all covered this morning. to start things off, we have our final nbc news/"wall street journal" predetection poll numbers. let's go right to our political director chuck todd in his command center with the latest snapshot. >> good morning, david. let me show you the numbers.
48 for the president, 47 for mitt romney. slight gender gap advantage for the president. he leads by eight among women. mitt romney leads by seven among men. what's interesting about the figure is it is the exact final number from the poll from 2004 with bush when he was at 48% and john kerry was at 47%. one of the reasons for the slight uptick for the president, remember we had them at 47-47 two weeks ago. look at this job approval on the handling of sandy. 68% approve. 15% disapprove. we haven't seen numbers like this for a single event for the president in his handling of an event since bin laden. >> you were talking about it looking a lot like 2004. back then, the osama bin laden tape was a late break in the campaign. now hurricane sandy will be affecting the vote. earlier this morning, before he left with the president for a full day of campaigning in new
hampshire, florida, ohio, and colorado, i spoke to white house senior adviser david plouffe. welcome back to "meet the press." >> thank you for having me, david. >> the endellible images this week had to do with hurricane sandy and an impact on this race because of the president's time and the images that we saw, meeting with governor christie in new jersey who as we heard gave him high marks touring the storm zone. and of course the images continue to be very, very difficult. but as we look at christie and the president together, was this the october surprise, these political foes, together in leadership, and christie giving the president such high marks? >> well, i don't think so, david. first of all, that's what leaders should do. we've had so many people affected. people lost loved ones. so many people out of power. really struggling. and so i think what's incumbent on leaders no matter where they come from or what political party, they are working together, and that's what you've seen. and it will take a long time to
recover. but that's what the american people expect from their leaders is at moments of real challenge and crisis to put other things aside and just focus on doing the right job for the american people. >> i know you're focused on storm recovery as part of the administration, but you do focus on politics. we're two days out. is hurricane sandy and the response have a political impact on this race? >> well, david, first of all, the political impact of sandy is sort of irrelevant. what's important is the impact we're seeing in new jersey and new york, connecticut, and west virginia. we have to make sure we stand by them to recover. we believe this race is very stable. you know, all through the fall. and i think that we're headed to a very close race where the president has an edge in enough battleground states to be re-elected tuesday night. >> despite governor christie's high marks, the reality is staten island, and this area in new york and in this region, you have so many people without power. you have critical shortages of gasoline. has the federal government done enough to reach those people who are still suffering here almost a week after this storm?
>> well, we're doing everything we can, partnering with state and local officials, to make surethat we're getting fuel into the area. we're providing direct assistance to allow affected families and people to have money for lodging and food. we're doing everything we can. we flew, you know, power equipment from california onmilitary aircraft into the area. so we're doing everything we can. this was an unprecedented storm, and obviously it's impacted so many people on the eastern seaboard. and it's going to take a while to recover. so we're going to be there, each and every day. you know, we've made a lot of progress. not enough. i think everyone would attest. until everyone has been reached and gotten assistance, we get all the power on, the work continues. but i think fema has done an outstanding job. the president obviously has been working on this intensively. and our local leaders, governor christie and mayor bloomberg, governor comeau and governor malloy, and all of the local officials are doing everything they can obviously because people are suffering and hurting out there, and we've got to stand by them and make sure we
stay on this until the job gets done. >> let me take you back to political handicapping here in the time two days. you've heard our latest numbers as the polling, a one-point edge for president obama in the national head-to-head. handicap where you think where the race is in these battleground states and nationally. >> i'm very confident, david, that two days out from election day that the president will be re-elected. it's going to be a close race. we have believed that the entire campaign, and that's the campaign we built was one to win a close race. but if you look at nevada, iowa, ohio, florida, virginia, new hampshire, colorado, all of these states we think the president is in a good position to win. and we think governor romney is playing defense. he is spending his last day in florida and virginia on monday. states that they were telling you in the media a few weeks ago they thought were done deals. they are far from done deals. i'd rather be the president today than romney in terms of those two states. >> i talked about the american firewall for president obama.
you seem to be up in ohio at least a couple of points based on polling i've seen. a new poll from "the des moines register" has you up five in iowa. do you believe ohio and iowa are done deals in the president's column? >> david, not until the polls close. so we feel good about our position in both those states. we think we have done terrific in terms of the early vote. it's important to understand, for governor romney to win ohio, iowa, north carolina, he'll have to carry election day by a huge margin, and we think we'll do very well with election day voters. we're in i think a commanding position, but our big challenge is to make sure we execute and get our vote out. and that's what we're spending all of our time on. >> let me ask you about a couple of issues here in the final stretch. the arguments from governor romney boil down to the economy and the unemployment rate higher than when the president took office. here's governor romney last night. >> he said he would bring the unemployment rate down to 5.2% by now. and we just learned on friday it's 7.9%.
it is nine million jobs short of what he promised. and unemployment -- unemployment today is higher than when barack obama took office. >> so if you've got anxiety about the economy, this is the president's record. and you have to be disappointed. is that what you're fearful of? >> no. i think we're going to win the case of the economy in this election, which is the primary reason we'll win the election. the economy is beginning to come back. we've got to build on that progress. we have created 5.5 million jobs in the last 40 months. over two million jobs by the way over the last 12 months. so we have to do a lot more. but, listen, governor romney wants to return us to the very same policies that created the recession in the first place. when we were losing 800,000 jobs. he wants to return to those policies. that's the choice. do we build on the progress that we've made, and we have a lot more work to do. the president has a plan to continue to create jobs and grow the middle class. or do we take a risk and go back
to the same policies that wrecked the economy? that's all governor romney is offering. >> that's also the issue of how you've worked with the other side. governor romney has said all the president has done is attacked the other side and not worked with congress. even mayor bloomberg who endorsed the president for a second term said he was still disappointed by the president. this is part of his remarks or his op-ed he wrote in that endorsement. in 2008, he writes, obama ran as a pragmatic problem solver and consensus builder. but as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation, and deficit reduction. and rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive agenda based on distributing income rather than creating it. >> well, mayor bloomberg had a lot of other positive things to say. david, you have covered this politic for four years
carefully. you know how often he has reached out to the republicans. we have done a lot of things with the republicans. we cut taxes for the middle class and small business. signed trade deals to expand markets. patent reform to help our enttrurs. -- entrepreneurs. ending don't ask, don't tell. no question there's a lot more to do. but here is the picture. governor romney if elected has promised to plunge this congress and this country into a bitter battle over repealing health care. do we think that's really going to help the tone in washington? absolutely not. he has promised to rubber stamp a tea party agenda. you know, senator reid said friday that the romney agenda is d.o.a. so the notion that governor romney will rubber stamp a tea party agenda and help solve the dysfunction in washington, it's going to be worse. >> before you go, i want to ask you about what is still both a highly politicized and very important question about this raid in libya on our consulate in benghazi that killed our
ambassador chris stevens. a lot of misinformation about this and a politicization of this in the time days. but still important questions that seem to boil down to this. why was security at our consulate so inadequate, particularly when there were warnings in advance about an attack on the consulate? why was there such little force nearby to respond to the kind of attack that ultimately took place? >> well, david, that's exactly why the state department has an accountability review board that's going to -- right now is undertaking a very thorough investigation. obviously, as facts come out, those have been released. but admiral mullen and mr. pickering, these are respected leaders who are going to see what happened, what lessons can we learn from this. >> why not put out the facts before the election? are you deliberately waiting until after election day before you respond to these questions in a detailed fashion? >> absolutely not. you know, all the information, obviously, that has been commented on has been, you know, because we have released it. an investigation like this is very important. we have to get it right so we can learn lessons here.
and i think the president has been very clear. he wants to understand -- make sure the country understands fully what happened. what lessons do we learn from that. and hold folks accountable. i will speak for one moment on the politics. it's remarkable. look back at 2000 in october. the uss cole took place weeks before the election. 17 sailors were killed tragically. and what then governor bush said was, we need to speak as one voice. and really for that entire campaign, president bush and then dick cheney said we need to speak with one voice. we need to find out what happened here. and i do think the politicization of this has been unprecedented. but the important thing here is we have to fully understand what happened here and take those lessons forward so that we can protect these diplomats doing such heroic work. >> david plouffe, we'll leave it there. we are joined now by our political roundtable, joe scarborough, savannah guthrie, our own tom brokaw.
mike murphy, republican strategist, and the mayor of newark, new jersey, cory booker. you have been working hardest of all in all of this. how are things in the wake of hurricane sandy for your folks in newark and around the area? >> there's a tremendous amount of suffering in new jersey and this region right now, an impotency of words to express what happened. the suffering going on now that you have people without power and now in our sixth day, approaching our seventh. so it's going to be a very difficult road to get out of a state of emergency, in other words to get to a point where we stabilize folks. but then the cleanup and the restoration as people have had their lives devastated and lost everything in this. >> what effect in the federal government are you feeling? do you give the obama administration high marks at this point for what they are delivering? >> i give everybody high marks. i give president obama, i give governor christie, i give countless local leaders. this is the best i've seen it. we've now been through a number of challenges really going back to this area being hit so hard by 9/11.
it seems like every challenge from 100-year snowstorms to the hurricanes, people are gets better together. but obama was on the phone with me directly the night of the event. the governor was reaching out to me before the event even happened to make sure we had what we needed. the integration of services, sharing of communication, the sharing of critical assets was really an incredible job. >> joe scarborough, there is a political impact of this. i talked to republicans close to mitt romney who said governor christie was doing his job but he was really effusive in his praise before anything was delivered. you look at the numbers from chuck todd, there's a political impact, isn't there? >> there may be. there certainly was in 1992 with george h.w. bush and again in 2006. with george w. bush and his mishandling of the hurricane. but it's hard to say. people in the romney camp felt like and i sort of sensed it as well this did freeze the race in place for a couple of days. but you look at polls this morning out, a new one in pennsylvania, has it tied.
new hampshire, a poll there has it tied. ohio. the dispatch poll, plus two obama, within the margin of error. florida poll, miami herald has right now romney plus six. so we go into this weekend, and republicans hoping this is a replay of 1980 where ronald reagan made a late break. but reagan had started his break a little earlier. by sunday, jimmy carter knew the race was over. if this is a late break, it's a really late break. looking at the polls, romney can do it. the question is, whether the hurricane stopped the momentum for 48 hours and if that will stop him from overtaking the president. >> tom brokaw, you have seen this before, and you have the ultimate political foe of the president giving him such high marks. a republican and a democrat working together, leadership at the highest level, and this has been a problem for the president. >> the president reached across party lines.
some of our polling people have been talking to undecided voters out there in colorado and other places, and they saw the president as a leader in a way they had not before, because nothing like a hurricane or national tragedy of this magnitude creates empathy across the country. it's not just confined to connecticut and new jersey and new york. people everywhere can say, that could be me, and how did the president handle himself? i think it did help him and hurt romney by freezing his campaign. but the fact is, this thing has been moving every 48 hours or so, we're back to essentially a tie. in the battle ground states. it will be a photo finish. >> savannah, also there's a lot of people who are still without gas, electricity. there's growing frustration. that has a potential impact as well. >> and it continues on as people start feeling that the federal response isn't what it should be. but when you have a race this tight, things like a hurricane can move the needle when you're talking about a race that's so close. it was an important moment for the president because in the
last three or four weeks of the campaign, i don't think he was going out of his way to appeal to independents whatsoever. this is a campaign built to turn out the base of the party. and here was a moment, handed to him seemingly from above, where he could look like that strong independent steady in a storm very appealing to the middle of the road voters. and i might add to unmarried women voters who are going to be very key in this election. >> mike murphy, 48, 47. does it look a lot like 2004 for you where it broke for president bush there at the end or not? >> well, it does, because i think you see the same republican enthusiasm. president obama has an advantage of demographics. mitt romney has an advantage in enthusiasm. and we got a great polling lock on what happened last week now. everything is tied. so what's going to happen yesterday, today, and tomorrow. i'd rather have enthusiasm right now than anything else. it will be a very close election. we got a new poll in ohio shows it's two points. people forget the margin of error. this stuff is tied. it can go either way. >> a lot in are from all of you after we come back from a break.
when we come back, eric cantor from battleground virginia, a key state romney hopes to pick up come tuesday. we'll get his take on where the race stands and what happens after the election and the tough choices of the approaching fiscal cliff. plus, more with our roundtable here. what issues mattered the most in this campaign? that's coming up right after this break. i was ready to serve. i just gotten married. i was right out of school. my family's all military. you don't know what to expect. then suddenly you're there... in another world. i did my job. you do your best. i remember the faces... how everything mattered... so much more. my buddies... my country... everything... and everyone i loved... back home. ♪ [ male announcer ] for all who've served and all who serve, we can never thank them enough. ♪ is now within your grasp with the e-trade 360 investing dashboard. e-trade 360 is the world's first investing homepage
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coming up, new polls out this weekend in key battleground states. where the race stands in the final days. a new poll out this morning that shows president obama up five in iowa. in ohio, a similar story t. poll there shows the president ahead by six. another poll has it by two. anyone's guess now in florida. two different polls there. two different numbers. bottom line is, it is tight as you can see. in colorado, the president leading by a small margin. look at this, in new hampshire, all tied up at 47 a piece. in new hampshire, we'll see the president on the final day. what does it mean for the ♪ [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks...
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richmond, virginia, the house majority leader congressman of the battleground state of virginia, eric cantor. leader, welcome back to "meet the press." >> good morning, david. >> i want to start on the impact of hurricane sandy, what we've been talking about here. our numbers this morning show 68% approval for the president's handling of the impact of that storm. governor christie, of course, republican of new jersey, a key surrogate for governor romney, leading the praise in effect for the president. last night on "saturday night live," sometimes satire can be stinging, this is how they show it, and i want to have you react to it. >> also i would like to give sincere thanks to president obama for how he handled the situation. on election day, i'm voting for mitt romney. but if i had to pick one guy to have my back in a crisis, it would be barack obama. he's been amazing, you know? so kind, such a leader, a true inspiration. again, i'll be a good soldier. i'll vote for romney. but i'm going to hate it! [ laughter ] >> do you hear me? i will hate it!
>> it gets a laugh. but my question, do you think in real life governor christie overdid it and gave an advantage to the president in this critical final week? >> governor christie was doing what he had to do, and he still has a challenge ahead of him. and, you know, my hat is off to him, to mayor booker, who is there with you, in dealing with the tragedy that has occurred. i mean, we're seeing the reports down here in virginia just the same as everyone across the country. our hearts go out to the people who do not have lights. some do not have shelter. do not have fuel to drive their car or to carry on their lives. i think this goes really beyond politics right now. and this is an issue of human compassion. i know that we've got thousands of folks here in virginia who have not only donated, but i know our power company has sent up many, many crews to help those in new york, new jersey area get back to track.
and, david, that's really what this is about, america coming together. >> the other issue, of course, that will be perhaps decisive in battleground virginia is the economy. here was after the latest job numbers came out and unemployment ticking up to 7.9% a headline from "the los angeles times" that caught my eye that seems to be a direct challenge to governor romney. and this is it. the jobs report arouses new optimism. october data shows solid growth and suggests a smoother road for whoever wins the presidency. the economy seems to be moving in the right direction, is the suggestion there. does that hurt governor romney's case? >> well, david, the reality is that if 7.9% unemployment, if 12 million or so people out of work and 8 million more either underemployed or working part time, if that is satisfactory to you, then this is acceptable, this obama administration's performance. what i will tell you from the folks that i meet is it is totally unacceptable. this is not good enough for us
in america. i just ran into a gentleman the other day in an airport. he is a home builder. he told me, congressman, please do something about this economy. he said i had to take a position as a chef in an airport diner because i couldn't find a position that matched my skill. well, you know what? we can do better by him and the millions of other americans right now who are in that situation or even some worse that don't have a job. that's what this election is about. it is about providing some hope so people can figure out how to make their life work again, and this administration, this president, has no track record to run on that he can provide any solution to this vexing problem for so many millions of americans. that's why mitt romney is going to win this election, david. >> but more jobs are being created. is that not a fact now? >> the fact is you need approximately 125,000 new jobs created every month just to keep up with population increases.
and, again, all we hear from the president is negative attacks and no solutions. this is the difference. mitt romney has provided an actual plan of how to get jobs going again in america. that's the difference. if folks want to see a better future with more jobs, mitt romney's got a plan. and that's why i see here on the ground, david, in virginia, there is a lot of enthusiasm for mitt romney and paul ryan. i was with paul yesterday here in richmond. we're going to win this state, and i think we're going to win it a lot bigger than most people are predicting. yes for mitt romney and yes for george allen. >> leader, you're talking about the plan that mitt romney has. well, the president as he is making his final argument took on the sort of change that governor romney is offering. he was speaking last night in your state. >> we know what change looks like and what governor romney is selling ain't it.
giving more power to the biggest banks isn't change. another $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy, that's not change. refusing to answer questions about the details of your policies until after the election, that's definitely not change. >> how do you respond to that? >> well, did you hear anything that has to do with a solution to a problem in the president's short remarks there? no. that's the difference. mitt romney is offering solutions. and an answer to folks that are asking, the millions of virginians and americans that are asking right now, how are we going to turn this thing around? how can i make my life work again? mitt romney has a plan. the president doesn't. the president is full of negativity, character assassinations, and attacks. i think america is a much more optimistic place. people are aspirational here. they want to see things get better. they want to know how. mitt romney is providing that plan. that's why we're going to win. and i think win big on tuesday
night. >> but it's striking, ohio is such an important state here in the battleground map, leader cantor, and yet this is a radio ad that the romney campaign is running in that critical state about the auto bailout and about jeep. i want you to listen to it. >> barack obama says he saved the auto industry. but for who? ohio? or china? and now comes word that chrysler plans to start making jeeps in, you guessed it, china. mitt romney. he'll stand up for the auto industry, in ohio, not china. >> the head of chrysler said that that is deceptive, that they are opening production facilities to service the chinese market while they are also expanding production in ohio. this from a business leader governor romney who apparently thinks it's good business to outsource in order to make companies more competitive. is this the hopeful specific agenda that governor romney has for the state of ohio and the
country? >> you know, i think the point of that ad is the fact that we need a president who's actually going to focus on increasing the competitiveness of america so that we can see plant openings here. and we really need a president who is going to focus on making things in america so we can sell them abroad. and i think that's why you have seen former chrysler clee icoca indors mitt romney. we need somebody to work with all sides to bring them together with the single focus of getting this economy back on track. david, i've not seen the ad. i just heard it now. i've not seen the ad. apparently they are not running it in virginia. so i've not seen the ad. but i do think the point is mitt romney has demonstrated the ability of building jobs, of making it so that we can have more investment, more economic activity, in america.
he has a demonstrated track record and has provided an actual plan, whereas all you're getting from the president in these closing days of his campaign is more negativity, more attacks, and i just think that, again, americans are looking to see how they can make their lives work again. barack obama is not providing any answers, and if you like the way things are now with nearly 8% unemployment, that's what you're going to get if you re-elect the president. >> majority leader cantor, thank you very much. >> thank you. let's turn back to our political roundtable. mike murphy, that ad in ohio, that issue in ohio, is contentious. the romney campaign is doing this because they see some disadvantage in terms of how he's perceived vis-a-vis the auto industry. >> in all the metal bending states, the obama campaign has done a good job of attacking romney. i don't like that particular ad, and the reason is it reminds me of the obama ads about the auto bailout, which are incredibly misleading. they have been going on for a year. i think they both get a yellow flag on that. but romney and have a political
issue in northern ohio with the political bailout, and he's trying to address that. we'll see if it works. >> i want to talk more generally about closing arguments on the economy. here is a chart of unemployment through the obama presidency and that final jobs report at 7.9%. if you're president obama, you like that down slope there, don't you? and that's the argument he's making. 7.9%, though, is still higher than when he came into office. >> the reality is he's made dramatic improvements in the economy and the jobs are going much, of better. i really want to bring up the point about enthusiasm. i campaigned very hard in the 2008 campaign and saw euphoria and excitement. this campaign, we have metrics that there's not only more enthusiasm but more involvement and engagement. you have women coming into campaign headquarters saying i'm here because i want to fight to defend planned parenthood, women's right to choose, equal pay for equal work. i see military folks volunteering saying i'm here to
defend my right to serve in the military whether you're gay or not. and i see small businesses in flint saying i have sba loans, i am here because he defended the auto industry. i'm not that kind of business, but my business is in michigan and it depends on people having resources. >> that's not showing up out there. "the new york times" yesterday had a front page article on their website talking about the difference over the past four years, that four years ago people did go. it was about hope and change. and this year, the people seem a lot more solemn. we have heard it time and time again. hold on a second. hold on a second. and this is a fascinating thing. the obama campaign is talking about metrics. they are talking about data. they are talking all of these numbers. and yet you're not seeing the enthusiasm in the crowds. yesterday in iowa, at a very small crowd, joe biden had 900 in colorado. even cnn was reporting that the crowds were much smaller this year. >> but, tom, you're focused on the closing arguments. >> they are negative, about keeping the other guy out.
it's not about enthusiasm with all due respect, mr. mayor, for the candidates on either side. there's great fear in the republican party that obama will get four more years. there's not a passion al love affair with mitt romney. there's been a lot of disappointment in your party with the president of the united states. on the other hand, there's greater fear that mitt romney is going to get into office. so more than any other time that i've been doing all of this, i have seen in the closing days fear take over. and more negative campaigning. it's not about me, it's about keeping the other guy out. i think that's what's going on here. >> savannah, we think about the question, why is it that incumbents lose? you go back to the first president bush. he had a problem with his base. no new taxes. he breaks that pledge. but also a down economy. jimmy carter has a down economy as well. and the reality is, that this president still is facing a down economy. >> but you can overcome a down economy with the graph you showed. it's really the trajectory that matters. but to me the signature weakness of the obama campaign has been the lack of a second term
message. i think that people fire incumbents when they don't show the energy and the passion for the job. that's to me why that first debate was so devastating for president obama, because it underscored people's worst views of what the president could be, kind of listless, lacking fight, lacking passion. i remember the 1992 campaign. that was kind of the book on george h.w. bush, he just didn't have fire for the job beyond, i ought to be re-elected. you have to have a message beyond i'm entitled to be re-elected. >> the obama people made an interesting calculation, which is we have problems with the economy so we'll make our campaign about mitt romney. and it may work politically. that's the campaign that the republicans have done as well very successfully, but if you win, you also lose, because you don't have an agenda. romney has that challenge too. but the president decided to make this a slaughter campaign. >> i disagree. i think fdr made four terms of re-election. because people remember that fear when our country was
falling in freefall in jobs, foreclosures, financial industry, the auto industry. here is a president in my lifetime never seen inherited a worst set of problems that not only got us out of the crisis, but the fear in community was palpable. and now not only have we stabilized the economy, over 30 months of job creation accelerating at the end, and you don't underestimate how personal this is for people with a child with pre-existing conditions who are now invested in this election because one person wants to get rid of obama care and one doesn't. don't underestimate it. and i see this passion from women. it's i want to spend those things that are important to my family, such as a right to women's right to choose. >> there's a lot of fear out there, though. whether or not you're talking about single women in ohio or people trying to get their kids into college, people believe that the american dream is slipping away. every poll shows this. people aren't as optimistic about the future as they were
four years ago. >> that's not true. what about college access? >> come on. >> joe, i love you, but i got too little sleep, please don't make me say something i will regret. number one, when it comes to college access, the president has a plan. he doubled pell grants. i see it in my community. people couldn't afford college before this president. and another thing we agree on, simpson-bowles. here is a plan that says i want a balanced approach. the other guy says no revenue increases. keep the hardened position. >> look, the comment -- >> the president made a grand bargain in 2008. he has a pitch now. he had a pitch then. the pitch was i'm going to put the country in debt and get the economy going. he got a four-year shot. it didn't happen.
>> no, no. the reduction you have in the unemployment rate is obviously -- >> let me go to a break and we'll come back. we'll have more from our roundtable. we'll also look back at some of the big moments of this campaign and ask everybody here what stood out. we'll get agreement about that i'm sure. also, chuck todd is coming up. what both sides now think is the road to 270. we're back with our special election preview after this. "meet the press" is brought to you by niss [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool if you could combine the capability of a pathfinder with the comfort of a sedan and create a next-gen s.u.v. with best-in-class fuel economy of 26 miles per gallon, highway, and best-in-class passenger roominess? yeah, that would be cool. introducing the all-new nissan pathfinder. it's our most innovative pathfinder ever. nissan. innovation that excites. ♪
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we are back, and we go back now to chuck todd at his command center with the numbers and the maps. chuck, i'm interested in the route to 270 for both candidates. we'll get to that in a minute. what do the final schedules tell us about where these campaigns think they are? >> you know how i feel. i think the schedules are more accurate sometimes than the polling itself. here is the president's final two days. today it's offense. florida, new hampshire, colorado. but he also goes to ohio. in fact, the last couple of days ohio has been like an airline hub for air force one. but more intriguing to me is where the president is spending monday. monday it's firewall day. that's his final day on the trail, and it's ohio, wisconsin, and iowa. and let me show you the mitt romney schedule. also the same feeling, if you will. today, it's offense day. he's trying to go into pennsylvania. that's kind of an insurance policy, if you will. if ohio doesn't go well. but he also hits ohio today. and iowa today. but what's interesting is his
monday, david. also feels defensive, if you will. it's florida, it's virginia, it's new hampshire. why? he needs those three states plus either ohio or pennsylvania in order to get to his magic number. >> all right. so what's the route that they like to get to 270? start with the president. >> well, i'm going to give you the simplest routes for both of them. and for the president, it's that midwestern firewall. p pennsylvania here. i think they believe that's in their case. so if that's the case and you give the firewall to the president, you see iowa is a luxury here. he is either at 271 before you put iowa there if you put ohio and wisconsin. watch the numbers here if you will. now, the simplest way for mitt romney, florida and virginia. it also means new hampshire. it also means colorado. and then if he is putting pennsylvania in play, it's one
of these states. if you look here, that's the importance of pennsylvania. wisconsin might be enough. he could lose ohio, iowa, and pennsylvania and get there. the problem is, wisconsin is looking like a state of the same day registration state. if you look at it that way, he needs one of these others. in ohio, if you believe the two-point race there, that would put him over. so that's why what explains if you will, david, where romney is going to pennsylvania because if you only -- if you take away pennsylvania, he only has two routes and ohio and wisconsin both seem to be a little where he's behind. >> chuck todd, thank you so much. one note about this, and the demographics, mike murphy, they both have models of what the electorate will look like. is it as white as it used to be? is it more nonwhite? this could decide the race. >> it's more nonwhite. and that's why colorado is tough. nevada may well be one that we don't carry. what's interesting about ohio, that state does not have a large minority vote. it's about 85% white. if romney were getting the same
white vote there he gets in virginia, where he is tied and the romney campaign is nervous, he would be winning ohio. that's also the story in pennsylvania. one quick footnote on pennsylvania. one reason the romney guys like it, even though historically it is more democratic, is there has not been a campaign there. they haven't had the $200 million of negative ads. so romney's numbers are better there in a lot of the states where they have trench warfare. >> people may not believe this, but there is a morning after this race, tom and savannah. and what happens in washington after that? david brooks in his column writes about the fiscal cliff which happens at the end of this year, big tax increases and also cuts. here's what he writes. the bottom line is this. if obama wins, he'll probably get small bore stacis. if romney wins, we are more likely to get reform. romney is more flexible than obama. he has more influence in washington. he is more likely to get big stuff done. savannah, this is a questikey
question. >> it is. and the president has banked on the fact that the election will solve these issues, litigate the issues of whether the bush tax breaks should be rolled back for the wealthiest of americans. when he caved on that, he said he will answer this two years later with the election. he is also banking on the fact that the republicans will want to work with him after the election. especially when you look at the makeup of congress not likely to change. we'll have the same set of circumstances potentially if obama wins, and yet he is promising that the fever will break post-election. he's got a lot riding on it. >> i think it's going to be a status quo election. and i think if romney wins, for example, he still is looking at a house of representatives that has a very considerable tea party presence in it. the tea party people are not going to go away. it's an insurgency. it's out there. it has more power than its numbers in many ways, which we have learned as they exercised that power very effectively when they choose to. and what we don't know about him
as president of the united states is just how nimble he can be. we have seen him as a candidate. and he kind of is a linear candidate. he kind of walks down one road. but does he have the flexibility to move and to be political and to strong arm people and to adapt to the current conditions? that's the unknown about mitt romney as president in my judgment. >> here is the cover of "parade" magazine with joe and mika on the cover. hey, mr. president, how is it that you actually govern? so you're focused on this question as well, joe. >> i am. and we talk about bipartisan in "parade" this week, and you showed the picture of mika staring at me and not backhanding me. i think that's a positive step forward. she practices restraint every day. so if you look at that picture, it looks like she's about to haul off and hit me. i think that's a good sign not only for "morning joe" but for america. >> i really believe that is the great undercurrent in the country. they want them to work together. >> yes. >> and there's been no
indication whatsoever in this campaign that they are prepared to do that. and that's what frustrates everybody, and that's what leads me to the idea that it's a very negative campaign. because it doesn't address what the country wants, republican, democrat, or independent. if we get together on main street, you have to get together on wall street. >> i have been thinking about it this week, and the final two days, what moments of this campaign really stand out. i want to ask you all that. this is what stood out for us. >> if you've got a business, you didn't build that. somebody else made that happen. >> i couldn't believe he actually said that. he said you're taking it out of context. the context is worse than the quote. >> when it comes to a woman's right to make her own health care choices, they want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century. >> i went to a number of women's groups and said can you help us find folks, and they brought us whole binders full of women. >> i'm not getting rid of all health care reform, of course.
there are a number of things i like that i will put in place. >> we have to name this condition that he's going through. i think -- i think it's called romnesia. >> what happened in benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpire td hours before in cairo. >> this was not a demonstration. this was an attack by terrorists. >> so i've got mr. obama sitting here. and he's -- i just was going to ask him a couple of questions. >> no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all of the damage that he found in just four years. >> the 47% who are with him, believe that they are victims. >> when he said behind closed
doors that 47% of the country considered themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about. >> so there it is. we're two days left. mayor, what stands out for you? >> well, the clinton speech, when he basically put it plain and used simple arithmetic. this was a damaged economy, and now this was a president who faced challenges that haven't been seen since the great depression. the second part, the part where i got fired up, because i'm not replexive that partisan, would they accept tax cuts 10 to one? and all of them said no. >> and bill clinton was making the choice in the final hours. >> three quick things. one, a stupid irritating republican primary that did not nothing to help the republican cause. two, an incredibly timid and negative and somewhat cynical obama campaign that will weaken
him if he is re-elected. and a debate that took romney from dead to maybe president of the united states. >> that debate was huge, joe. >> i have to say, for me, it's a republican looking at the republican party, it was a horrifying primary process that damaged the republican brand. secondly, a terrible i think republican convention, where mitt romney didn't make the turn to the middle. and, third, just a remarkable first debate. that if mitt romney wins, it will be a debate that political scientists will be looking at 50 years from now. it really could be the big turning point. >> i hate to agree, but the debate is the line of demarcation, not only was it president obama's worst night and probably a near death experience for him, but mitt romney was suddenly a credible candidate after the obama campaign put a lot of money and resources trying to kill him in the crib all summer. and romney emerges also when he did that pivot to the center. i think it was an important moment. >> i think it was the first
debate. i think history will long record that if he survives that debate was something unprecedented. i have never seen anything like that in my lifetime, when a man who had to convince the country was a strong leader disappeared from the stage. on the romney side, i think the 47% comment, and you twin that with his appearance at the republican national convention in his acceptance speech not mentioning at one moment any of the military sacrifices that are being made in this country by working class families all across america. it did not come up in the two longest wars in america's history. and the right went after him more strongly than the left. >> our final note right after more strongly than the left. >> our final note right after this. i was ready to serve. i just gotten married. i was right out of school. my family's all military. you don't know what to expect. then suddenly you're there... in another world. i did my job. you do your best. i remember the faces... how everything mattered... so much more. my buddies... my country... everything... and everyone i loved... back home. ♪ [ male announcer ] for all who've served and all who serve,
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